• Todd Green

The Four recommendations: Getting to know my co-workers

What brings people together? How do colleagues from different backgrounds become friends? How do they learn to work in the best interests of one another, not just themselves or the company? Believe it or not, the answers might lie in an episode of Criminal Minds.

If you’ve worked freelance, you know it’s lonely. I did it for five years, meaning for five years the only people I talked to during the day were my building’s leasing staff— and that’s because a fellow tenant never cleaned up after their dog. The hallways had been sullied, the building’s honor defiled. I began planning out my own investigation to bring that madman (or madwoman) to justice, I was to become the Sherlock Holmes of dog poo...

I eventually realized (with the help of my wife) that I was at a crossroads: continue going nuts or get a new job. But would I harmonize with office culture? I felt like a spy who’d been behind enemy lines too long. It was time to come in from the cold, yet working alone was all I knew.

Thankfully, there was nothing to fear—I quickly connected with my Ambrose McDowell colleagues. We talked about everything: books, baseball, politics and most importantly, TV and movies. Those conversations inspired me to write this blog, illustrating one way to get to know our coworkers better. I asked my team for movie and TV recommendations, here’s what they suggested:

Amber Ambrose, CEO - Fight Club Amber and I previously discussed David Fincher’s masterpiece, The Game, at length so this Fincher-directed recommendation was fitting. Amber told me that she loves the film because “...despite the pasteurized lifestyles we tend to live in modern society, there’s always a streak of wild instinct that needs expression...” It was fun to revisit this movie and I learned that you don’t have to sweat trying to keep up with every new film. Classics and guilty-pleasure movies are an easy way to get to know someone— even if they’re just a figment of your imagination.

Lauren McDowell, COO - Tombstone Lauren said “I've always been a sucker for the idea of justice.” Well, there’s some real badass justice meted out on the reckless, ruthless, racist villains in this story. This movie has all of the great heroic elements of westerns like High Noon, it’s funny (Val Kilmer especially) and well- acted too. I’d actually never seen it before, which taught me that recommendations (much like constructive feedback) can help push you out of comfort zones and further your creativity.

Beatrize Tapia, Digital Content Coordinator - Selena

Bridging cultural divides is one of the most rewarding parts of working with others. I was grateful Beatrize chose this movie because it covers “...the cultural struggle of being both American and Mexican.” We’ve since talked at length about it and I’ve connected to her (and Selena’s) stories of being caught between assimilation and honoring heritage. It’s a dilemma that I’ve personally experienced too. I have to say though, I expected a more Stand and Deliver-esque performance from Edward James Olmos, but overall Selena was a fun watch.

Lauren Patterson, Director of Accounts - Criminal Minds S8, E24

We’ve circled back to Criminal Minds, a show which may hold the answers to all of mankind’s deepest questions. I was pretty surprised when Patterson recommended an episode called “The Replicator.” In early conversations, she said she “...hated horror, gore and scary stuff.” Well, Mark Hammill is pure evil as the guest star. Luke turns to the Dark Side in this show.

Anyway, tragedy strikes in this episode, but it doesn’t (temporarily) unravel the team’s bond like it would in other cop-shows. That was perhaps the most interesting lesson I learned from the four recommendations. I learned more about a colleague while watching an episode that illustrated the importance of learning about colleagues.

See, we’re all in the trenches together. No matter how tough it gets, a good team is made of friends not foes, advocates not critics— and the only way to build that rapport is, of course, to get to know your teammates well...

TV and movie recommendations are just one way.

(Author’s Note: No DVDs were harmed in the researching and writing of this blog post.)

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